Chief Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah (L) and Dr Dominic Ayine (R).

Former Deputy Attorney-General, Dr Ayine has insisted that his comments regarding the Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling on the 2020 election petition had no dire effects on the reputation of the Justices.

His position comes as a response to a petition filed by the Chief Justice, Kwasi Anin-Yeboah to the General Legal Council (GLC) of Ghana, requesting that the Bolgatanga East lawmaker be investigated for questioning the independence of the Judiciary due to the manner it adjudicated the election petition. 

The Judicial Council in a letter dated May 25, stated that the Chief Justice was displeased by comments made by Dr Dominic Ayine during a discussion on Presidential Election Petitions and their impact on Africa’s Democracy, organised by the Centre for Democratic Development (CDD), Ghana.

They noted aside from the CDD-Ghana event, Dr Ayine uttered similar statements to the public during the petition hearing which led to him being cited for contempt.

But according to Dr Ayine in an 11-page document, the allegations levelled against him by the Chief Justice are inaccurate since the reputation of the seven-member judges who adjudicated the hearing remain intact and unmarred.

“With all due respect to His Lordship, the Chief Justice, I wish to state that I stand by the opinion I expressed at the said roundtable discussion. I am firmly convinced that the opinion I expressed neither imperilled the independence of the judiciary nor did it cause any actual or potential harm to the reputation of the individual justices nor did it cause any actual or potential harm to the reputation of the individual justices who sat on the case,” portions of the letter read.

He further added that his submission at the said event was in his right as a Ghanaian to freely express himself without any form of infringement.

“On the contrary, I was engaged in constructive criticism based on my reading of the unanimous judgment of the Supreme Court in exercise of my constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech. I did so in good faith, without malice or falsehood or recklessness and in furtherance of my responsibility to our country as a lawyer and an academic.”

His reason has been shared and supported by some legal practitioners, institutions and the National Democratic Congress (NDC).

On why the action of the Chief Justice should be backtracked, Dr Ayine stated that should investigations continue, it may serve as a “retrogressive precedent whereby disciplinary proceedings would be used as a tool to enforce silence from the bar in the name of shielding judges from disparaging criticism by lawyers.”

Earlier Monday, June 21, the NDC in a press briefing demanded the immediate withdrawal of the Chief Justice’s petition to investigate the Bolgatanga East MP.

General Secretary of the party, Johnson Asiedu Nketia expressed worry stating that this is a deliberate attempt by Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah to silence NDC’s legal minds and those in the Minority.

“…Even as the action taken against Dr Ayine is unjustified, it is but a symptom of a larger problem. It is no coincidence that virtually all the lawyers who have been reported to the Disciplinary Committee of the Council by the Chief Justice, Justice Kwasi Anin-Yeboah, in recent times are aligned to the NDC. 

“What is the Chief Justice’s personal interest in the punishment of NDC affiliated lawyers, that he is so keen to initiate unwarranted actions against them?” he quizzed.

He held the view that such unethical acts would never be meted to an individual of the governing party; New Patriotic Party (NPP).

“We dare say that such treatment will not be meted out to lawyers who are aligned to the NPP (New Patriotic Party) for reasons best known to the Chief Justice himself,” he claimed.

Meanwhile, the Disciplinary Committee of the Council is yet to hear the petition before it.